PGCert in Pastoral Care: Existential and Humanist Practice

Course Description

This new PGCert in Pastoral Care: Existential and Humanist Practice is a new 1 year blended learning course designed to prepare students for a career in pastoral care providing students with a broad experience in pastoral care including:

  • Humanist UK Celebrant Qualification
  • Practice skills
  • Work experience in a placement setting
  • Philosophical understanding of existential and humanist practice

The PG Cert assumes no prior knowledge or experience, building your skills from the ground up. You will start with core competencies such as active listening, and it builds to a ceremonies training, as well as explicitly existential skills. Theoretical learning includes professional ethics, worldviews and belief systems, secular life, different religions and diverse societies, and a grounding in existential philosophy.

The course leader is Dr Elizabeth Young.

For further information on possible learning adaptions we can offer neurodivergent students and students with a disability or chronic health condition, contact [email protected]

Programme of Study

Year 1

  • Existential Perspectives on Human Issues
  • Pastoral Care Settings, Celebrancy & Ceremonies: Celebrant Practice
  • Pastoral Care Settings, Celebrancy & Ceremonies: Introduction to ceremonies
  • Philosophical Worldviews, Religions and Belief Systems
  • Skills in Pastoral Care- Supervised Practice 3/3
  • Skills in Pastoral Care: Advanced skills 2/3
  • Skills in Pastoral Care: Basic Skills 1/3

Accreditation and Careers

This programme is quality assured by Middlesex University and you will receive a Middlesex award on successful completion. You can view the Middlesex Research Degree Regulations here.

Our graduates go into a wide range of settings including the NHS.

Fees 2023-24

Year of course

Units to be completed in year

Fee payable per year

(if no units have to be repeated)


6 units over 3 terms


APEL (if required)

Per submission


*NB You should also expect to pay for books and professional registration.

There is a £50 non-refundable application fee for all courses, to cover administrative costs. An interview with a member of the course staff will only be arranged once this has been received.   

A registration Fee of £150 will be paid when you accept your place on the course. This is non- refundable. 

For more detailed financial terms and conditions click here.

Please note : Students on validated programmes are not eligible for Student Finance or DSA

Entry Requirements

  • An undergraduate degree in any subject (equivalent experience may be acceptable)
  • Fluent English: IELTS level 7 or above in all categories (or equivalent)
  • Personal suitability to be determined at interview
  • Reliable internet connection

How You Study

The course is delivered via blended learning. This consists of online theory modules via Moodle, face-to-face skills modules in NW London, online research supervision and online supervision of practice. With 25% of attendance carried out face-to-face, this course is easy to fit around a busy life, and is accessible to those living far from London or with caring commitments.

Theory modules are asynchronous, except for a weekly chat to be decided between group members. Students work through weekly materials online, posting and discussing in the forum with the group and tutor. A weekly quiz ensures that you are absorbing the materials.

Face-to-face skills modules take place over 5 consecutive days. There are 5 skills modules in total over the two years.

Placement supervision is provided via group video chat on a weekly basis in year 2 of the programme.

Research supervision is provided from year 2, and can be done in a number of ways depending on what best suits both student and supervisor, but usually takes the form of email and video chat.

Students may take up to 4 years to complete should they need additional time.

It is possible to exit the programme early with either a PGCert or PGDip award, however, this may affect professional registration.

MIddlesex University